Perfume Review: Lancome Hypnose
This review was made possible
by wonderfully generous J.
After almost a decade of launching rather forgettable fragrances (Attraction, anyone?), Lancôme decided it was time to finally match the previous success of Magie and Trésor. The responsibility of being such a Renaissance perfume fell on Hypnôse, their latest fragrant offering, which also happened to be the 50th fragrance from the House of Lancôme. The twisted bottle is a slender version of the original Magie bottle dating to 1950. The scent, created by Annick Ménardo and Thierry Wasser of Firmenich, is centered around the vanilla and vetiver notes of Magie, and also includes passion flower and white florals (Top note: passion flower; Middle note: Sambac jasmine, solar notes (?); Base note: vetiver, vanilla, as per osmoz). It is not entirely clear to me why Lancôme considered it necessary to launch a perfume “inspired” by Magie, when that same year the company re-introduced Magie itself, as a part of La Collection. I assume the scent is supposed to convey the image of continuity as well as modernity of Lancôme perfumery.
The scent is classified as woody oriental, and on his site, Fragrances of the World, Michael Edwards suggests that if you like Hypnôse, you might also like such woody orientals as Kingdom, Tam Dao and Samsara, and vice versa. As far as I am concerned, Hypnôse is practically nothing like those three woody orientals extraordinaire. Hypnôse is much less woody and oriental than it is floral and fruity. I have not had a chance to smell passion flower* in real life, so I am taking it for granted that the pleasant, soft, fruity, somewhat peach-like, accord in the beginning of Hypnôse is in fact passion flower. In a little while a jasmine note enters the scene, again it is soft, subdued, sweet yet somehow also fresh; to my nose, it smells a little like jasmine tea. The scent gets drier and greener when vetiver joins the composition; when (subtle) vanilla appears, the dryness turns into slight powderiness and the green-ness gets replaced with sweetness.
I have used the word “pleasant” several times and I will use it yet again. It is a very pleasant scent, inoffensive, soft, and pretty; having said that, it is also quite unremarkable. It reminded me of two frangipane-based scents; in its first, fruity, stage, Hypnôse is quite similar of Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipane Absolute, the rest of the time it smells to me very much alike Chantecaille’s Frangipane, only less heady, less bright, less sumptuous, less memorable. The drydown also reminds me of some other scent, perhaps a much lighter version of Flower by Kenzo, I am not quite sure. Though eminently wearable, Hypnôse does not live up to the originality of Magie and/or Trésor, and somehow it does not seem to me to be the perfume worthy of being such a milestone as the 50th Lancôme fragrance.
I was able to locate Hypnôse at Strawberry.net, where it retails for $59.50 for 1,7oz.
* Passion flower was discovered in South America in the 16th century by Christian missionaries who considered the plant to be a good omen for their mission. They called it the passion flower because to them it symbolized the crucifixion: five petals and five sepals are the ten disciples, minus Judas & Peter; the outer fringe is the crown of thorns; five stamens are the number of wounds Christ received and the knob-like stigmas of the pistil are the nails. In Japan passion flower is known as 'The Clock Plant' and that comparison seems much more matter-of-fact.
Among other fragrances with passion flower note are Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again Fleur de la Passion, Calvin Klein Eternity Love and Eternity Moment, Hugo Boss Boss for Woman, Escada Ibiza Hippie, Estee Lauder Dazzling Silver, Giorgio Beverly Hills Wings, Bob Mackie Masquerade, and Crabtree & Evelyn Passion Flower.
(The picture of passion flower is from bermuda-online.org)